Happy New Year! Today marks the Feast of the Epiphany and while the decorations are coming down, I’m still keen to hold onto seasonal flavours for that little bit longer. Citrus fruit is in season just now and pairs beautifully with spice and sweetness. Enter this clementine and cardamom upside-down cake: a modern spin on the retro classic with bittersweet oranges and aromatic spice. The cake will keep for a few days in an airtight tin and is actually tastier on day two. To make it, you will need:
For the topping:
125g caster sugar 8 clementines
For the cake:
285g unsalted butter
285g light brown muscovado sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
285g self-raising four
11⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 23cm round loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking paper. For the topping, heat a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sugar and allow it to melt and slowly turn to an amber caramel – the sugar touching the base of the pan will turn first, and slowly but surely the sugar on top will soon become liquid, too. Give the pan a little swirl as the sugar starts to melt. Once you have a dark caramel, pour it into the base of the prepared cake tin.
Keeping them whole, peel the clementines, then cut them in half horizontally to retain that little hole in the top and bottom. Arrange the clementine halves, rounded-side up, on the caramel.
For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar until really soft – the butter should become very pale and the sugar will more or less dissolve into it.
Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the flour, cardamom and salt and beat in just until incorporated to a smooth batter.
Pour the batter over the clementines and gently level it out, being careful not to displace the fruits.
Bake for 1 hour and up to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, apart from the odd crumb of cake made soggy by the oranges beneath. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate.
What are you baking this New Year?
Recipe for clementine and cardamom upside-down cake adapted from John Whaite.